Top 20 Places to See Roman Ruins

The month of March has come, and so a new Ancient Roman year has begun. To celebrate this, we have extracted a Roman Top 20 of Locations from our database. There are some problems in automatically selecting the candidates (especially in what concerns the distinction between Greek, Roman and Greco-Roman), and there is some subjectivity in the scoring algorithm, but the resulting list looks nice & inspiring. Have you been to all the 20 locations already?

1. Rome, Italy

We’d love to be more fanciful, but the scoring algorithm is adamant on this point: Colosseum, Roman Forum and the rest of the attractions of the imperial capital are not to be contested.

2. Pompeii, Italy

Another inevitable point in the list: Pompeii, a whole Roman town uncovered from volcanic ash. Roman houses to see, Roman streets to walk.

3. Verona, Italy

The cliche definition for Verona is ‘the city of Romeo and Juliet’, but the veronese themselves know better: the city airport bears the name of Valerius Catullus, not of any of those too-recent medieval folks. And, speaking of tourist attractions, the amazingly preserved Verona Arena is a clear must-see for an Ancient Roman geek.

4. Mérida, Spain

But what about all the lands conquered by the Romans outside Italy? Here goes the city of Emerita Augusta, once a capital of the Roman province of Lusitania, now a vast archaeological ensemble near Mérida in Extremadura, Spain. Originally built for retired soldiers, Emerita Augusta had every sort of cool places then, and consequently has every sort of cool ruins now.

5. Hadrian’s Wall, United Kingdom

What do you do if you have conquered half-an-island, and the inhabitants of the other half do not like you? Well, just build a wall from one shore to the other, is the Ancient Roman answer. A rather big-size tourist attraction, as you’ve probably guessed: it takes about a week of walking to see all of it.

6. Paestum, Italy

Founded by Greek colonists and originally named after the god Poseidon, then overtaken by Rome in 3rd century BC, this city is tricky to label as simply Greek or simply Roman. Anyways, it is amazing and it has a forum. Roman enough. Included.

7. Palmyra, Syria

Temples, tombs, the Roman theatre, and the Great Colonnade. The city was in fact important long before the Romans came, and stayed important in the Roman times as well.

8. Ephesus, Turkey.

Another Greco-Roman city. Have you ever wondered what ancient libraries were like? Ephesus has one. Library of Celsus, once a home for 12000 scrolls, and still an amazing sight to behold.

9. Pula, Croatia

The big and splendid amphitheatre with fully preserved circuit of walls gains the 9th place in our list for Pula. The Temple of Augustus helps.

10. Leptis Magna, Libya

The hometown of the emperor Septimius Severus with a number of worthy ruins. The arch of Septimius Severus puts Art Nouveau to shame with the richness of detail.

11. Orange, France

A triumphal arch well worth seeing, and a Roman theatre.

12. Trier, Germany

Porta Nigra, the largest preserved Roman city gate north of Alps.

13. Bath, United Kingdom

Well-preserved ruins of Roman spa town Aquae Sulis to be seen underground. The hot springs are still used in a modern spa. Jump in and feel like a Roman.

14. Nîmes, France

The main thing to mention is Maison Carrée, one of the best preserved Roman temples in the world. The Arena is another highlight.

15. Plovdiv, Bulgaria

A fine Roman theatre in ancient Philippopolis.

16. Carthage, Tunisia

Everyone knows that the Romans destroyed Carthage. Less know that they also built a new city on the same place, which became the center of the Roman province of Africa. Which means, Roman ruins there as well!

17. Herculaneum, Italy

A town with the same fate as Pompeii, and in fact not less splendid and amazing. But it is traditionally less thoroughly covered by common information sources, which, unfortunately, puts it lower in an auto-generated list.

18. Split, Croatia

A palace built by emperor Diocletian. Enough said.

19. Torre Annunziata, Italy

Located close to Pompeii, Torre Annunziata offers you the Villa Poppaea, a luxurious seaside villa once probably owned by the Emperor Nero.

20. Baalbek, Lebanon

A number of well-preserved temples famous for rich architectural detail.

Posted by Anton Bryl 


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